Reaching out to the community

Local Impact

Reaching out to the community

Students in the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society are collectively volunteering thousands of hours to help Kingston non-profits improve lives.

By Communications Staff

March 23, 2023


Aerial photograph of City of Kingston

Queen’s students call Kingston home for several years while they work toward their degree, and many become embedded in the local community at the same time, finding numerous ways to give back and get involved. The Community Outreach Commission of the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) plays a major role in helping students from their faculty connect with community organizations looking for help and make meaningful contributions to the community. More than 300 students volunteer with the commission each year and collectively dedicate thousands of hours to helping Kingston non-profit organizations advance their missions.

“So many Queen’s students are eager to get personally involved in the Kingston community and spend their time doing hands-on work with local organizations,” says Emma Farrell, vice president of society affairs for ASUS. “We provide students with avenues for volunteering in ways that help them make connections to Kingston and make a difference at the same time.”

The commission is organized into 10 different committees, each partnered with a local non-profit organization that focuses on issues such as youth mentorship, health and wellness, and animal welfare. Students on these committees volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston, Pathways to Education, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Community Living Kingston, the Kingston Humane Society, and other groups making direct contributions to community members.

The Community Outreach Commission also runs initiatives that help gather donations for local organizations. Over the summer, students maintain the ASUS Garden, which grows vegetables that they donate to Kingston food banks. The commission also selects one local organization as their Charity of the Year, which they fundraise for through their Supper Series, a collaboration with Kingston restaurant Tommy’s. Student volunteers deliver Tommy’s meals for free several evenings each term, and a portion of the proceeds and all tips are directed toward the designated non-profit. This year, the commission is raising funds for Dawn House, a local organization supporting women in need.

The commission has organized a number of fundraising drives so far this academic year. In November, the Alzheimer’s Outreach committee held their annual 5k run/walk event and raised more than $1,800 for the Alzheimer’s Society of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington. The Kids 4 Kids committee ran a toy drive for children in the pediatric ward at Kingston General Hospital. The commission also teamed up with the rest of ASUS to hold the inaugural ArtSci Cup basketball game, a charity event that raised more than $20,000 along with a matching donation for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Fostering city engagement

Outside the Community Outreach Commission, ASUS offers additional opportunities for arts and science students to get involved with the community.

Each year, ASUS offers summer camps for Kingston youth ages four to eight. In 2022, ASUS Camps hosted more than 400 campers and provided roughly $5,000 in bursaries to Kingston families to help offer an affordable camping experience for all.

The ASUS Sidewalk Sale is an annual highlight of fall orientation. The event, featuring more than 300 booths, including Queen’s clubs and departments, as well as local, national, and international organizations and businesses, is an opportunity for students to make connections within the Queen’s and Kingston communities. The Sidewalk Sale annually raises close to $100,000 in support of Kingston charities.

The ASUS City Engagement Program is an initiative in its second year that gives students the chance to partner with the City of Kingston to develop a project and gain practical skills. Student participants have initiated projects that touch on a range of areas important to the city, including business support, community engagement, and heritage services.

Student impact on the community

These initiatives make up part of Queen’s social and economic impact on the Kingston community, which has been measured in a study conducted by Deloitte. That study found that Queen’s students, faculty, and staff annually raise more than $1M to support local causes. It also found that Queen’s students work thousands of volunteer hours for local causes.

Learn more about the community and economic impact of Queen’s students and read the full study on the Queen’s Economic and Community Impact website.  

Building Community Together

This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting how students across Queen’s are building community together through meaningful volunteer and fundraising efforts.

Community Stories